According to a leaked memo from a political operative, it’s time for the Republican Party to be more gay friendly.
Jan van Lohuizen, who worked as a pollster on the 2004 reelection campaign for President George W. Bush, sent his talking points to Republican candidates. He argued the party should reflect the changing attitudes American voters now have toward gays and lesbians.
‘As more people have become aware of friends and family members who are gay, attitudes have begun to shift at an accelerated pace,’ van Lohuizen writes. ‘This is not about a generational shift in attitudes, this is about people changing their thinking as they recognize their friends and family members who are gay or lesbian.’
A 2011 Pew Research Center survey showed the GOP is very cool toward the LGBT community. Only 40 percent of Republicans think gays and lesbians should be accepted by society. That number is even lower for those defined as conservative (35 percent).
The memo adds that supporting LGBT families and couples does not detract from conservative principles.
‘As people who promote personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability, and emphasize freedom and limited government we have to recognize that freedom means freedom for everyone. This includes the freedom to decide how you live and to enter into relationships of your choosing, the freedom to live without excessive interference of the regulatory force of government.’
Van Lohuizen acknowledges the majority of Republicans are against gay marriage, but notes many do support basic protections, from the end of bullying to hospital visitation rights.
Blogger Andrew Sullivan, who published the memo, insists the pollster is ‘advising [Republicans] in no uncertain terms that they need to evolve and fast, if they’re not going to damage their brand for an entire generation.’